Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Jackson Heights, NY, August 15, 2016 — NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst) today called upon Conservative Party Chairman Michael R. Long to resign from his position as Chairman of the Board of the Holy Angels Catholic Academy in light of the recent suicide of Daniel Joseph Fitzpatrick, 13, who was a student at the school.  On Saturday, Daniel Joseph Fitzpatrick left a suicide note saying that school officials did nothing to prevent students from bullying him mercilessly leading him to believe that he had no alternative but to end his life.

“Michael Long has been negligent in his duty to protect Daniel from bullying and, in fact, holds some responsibility for his death because of his long standing, staunch opposition to anti-bullying education,” Dromm said.  Dromm is the Chairperson of the NYC Council’s Committee on Education and worked for 25 years as a NYC public school teacher before being elected in 2009.  “Mr. Long should not serve on any school board because of the hatred and malice he has shown toward many groups of people in our society but especially against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.”

Long was an opponent of the Dignity for All Students Act sponsored by Senator Thomas K. Duane and Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell which passed in Albany in 2010.  His opposition centered around the inclusion of LGBT students as a protected class.

Dromm continued, “Should Mr. Long not resign, I call on Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio to remove him.”

“I was shocked to learn that Mr. Long was the Chairperson of the Board of Holy Angels Catholic Academy,” Dromm said.  “He does not make the connection between his style of bullying and how it affects young people.  I suspect that Daniel’s pleas were not taken seriously because Mr. Long doesn’t take bullying seriously.”

In a July 29, 2003 article published in The Guardian, Mr. Long, in reference to and in opposition to the creation of the Harvey Milk School for LGBT students in NYC jocularly said, “Is there a different way to teach homosexuals?” He continued, “Is there gay math? This is wrong. What next? Maybe we should have schools for chubby kids who get picked on.”  And according to a July 28, 2003 article, he went further by saying, “Maybe all kids who wear glasses should have special schools. It’s ridiculous.”

Long has denigrated student bullying for over a decade.

Dromm empathized with Daniel’s pleas for help because he also attended a Catholic school and suffered from bullying similar to what Daniel experienced.  “I remember how horrible it was back in the 1970’s and it is distressing to learn that this is still going on 40 years later.”

“I urge Bishop DiMarzio to immediately issue a statement condemning all types of bullying and to ensure that all school administrators, teachers and support staff understand and take this issue seriously,” Dromm stated.  “My heart goes out to Daniel’s family.  I wish to express my condolences to them.  This is just so sad.”


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